Why Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation Are Place on Axis Ii Instead of Axis I?

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By Summan Islam

Why personality disorders and mental retardation are place on axis II instead of axis I?

DSM IV Criteria:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), or DSM IV Criteria is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. It is not only used for patient diagnosis and treatment, but is also important for collecting and communicating accurate public health statistics.

Components of the DSM IV Criteria:

The DSM consists of three major components:
1. The diagnostic classification
2. The diagnostic criteria sets
3. The descriptive text.

The Multiaxial System of Diagnosis in DSM IV Criteria:

The DSM uses a "multiaxial" system for assessment. This assessment model is designed to provide a comprehensive diagnosis that includes a complete picture of not just acute symptoms but of the entire scope of factors that account for a patient's mental health.

There are five axis in the DSM diagnostic system, each relating to a different aspect of a mental disorder:

Axis I:
This is the top-level diagnosis that usually represents the acute symptoms that need treatment; Axis 1 diagnoses are the most familiar and widely recognized (e.g., major depressive episode, schizophrenic episode, panic attack). Axis I terms are classified according to V-codes by the medical industry (primarily for billing and insurance purposes).

Axis II:
Axis II, is for personality disorders and developmental disorders such as mental retardation. Axis II disorders, if present, are likely to influence Axis I problems. For example, a student with a learning disability may become extremely stressed by school and suffer a panic attack (an Axis I diagnosis)

Axis II is for assessing personality disorders and intellectual disabilities. These disorders are usually life-long problems that first arise in childhood, distinct from the clinical disorders of Axis I which are...
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